When the Nintendo Switch was first released, there was some doubt as to how it was going to fit into the current gaming climate. The Wii U was (and is) still an extremely playable system; perfect for all of the party games that fit the purpose of the Wii systems. Mario Kart had seen a huge resurgence, helped along by the Wii U and the ability to include many players on a variety of controllers. Though it was time for Nintendo to release a new home console, it was hard to imagine that many people, outside of die-hard Nintendo fans, would fork over their hard-earned cash to upgrade to a new system.
Then there is the question of the portable market. Nintendo’s line of New 3DS and 2DS systems are still going strong and new games are still hitting the Nintendo eShop. Mobile players that have never bought into the Nintendo portable line are content to do their mobile gaming on phones and tablets.
So, it seemed impossible that a home console/portable gaming hybrid was needed. Whether or not it could find a place remained to be seen. Then, the sleek little system was released with its tiny joy con controllers and dock system. There were few games for the Switch at the time and gamers were still skeptical. But, since its release, the console has gradually picked up steam and the variety of games available has increased dramatically. It is, surprisingly, a go-to system for indie games and the flagship Nintendo games are just as beautiful and innovative as you would expect.
If you have purchased a Nintendo Switch or are thinking about joining the crowd, there are a few games that you absolutely should play on the system:
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
There are many reasons to play this update of a classic game and nostalgia is just one of them. It’s been 10 years since we’ve played a new version of Street Fighter II, but as soon as you pick up the controller for the game, all of those memories will come flooding back. The mechanics and gameplay are incredibly familiar, but smoother and more refined. There are a few new moves and mechanics, so play around and add more moves to your list of favorites.
This version has all of the familiar characters and bosses, as well as two new characters, Evil Ryu and Violent Ken.
If you’re a fan of the original version, take advantage of classic mode and enjoy pixelated graphics, then switch to the modern mode for an updated look. There’s nothing particularly special about the classic mode, but it’s a fun addition to the game as a whole.
Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers takes full advantage of the Switch’s features, including its portability. Play on your television at home and then keep going as you take your Switch on the go. When you arrive at a friend’s house, simply detach the joy cons, prop up the Switch, and enjoy tabletop, multiplayer gaming. This game, while excellent on the big screen, feels particularly comfortable for a quick, tabletop gaming session.
At $14.99, the cult hit Stardew Vally is a budget-friendly game that is more in-depth than you may think. On the surface, it appears to be a farming simulator, and it is. But, it transcends that genre.
You may have already played this game on one of the other platforms, PC, Mac, PS4, or XBox One, but for many reasons, it fits the Nintendo Switch perfectly. Like most farming sims, it requires some day to day maintenance, so the portability of the Switch lends itself to the gameplay. It’s drawn in fans of Animal Crossing, Story of Seasons, and Harvest Moon, all of which have been played on portable gaming devices.
While farming is certainly part of the Stardew Valley experience, so is interacting with other characters, and there’s even RPG like questing and problem-solving. If you’ve given the game a play on one of the other platforms and weren’t immediately addicted, it’s worth giving it another shot on the Switch. There’s a good chance that it will capture your attention and keep you busy for a surprising amount of time.
While Stardew Valley arrived on the Switch with an established fan base, Golf Story is a surprise hit. Golf video games are extremely popular and this fun, retro-looking little game taps into the golf game market and the RPG market. It’s difficult to imagine how these two groups overlap, but Golf Story manages to bring them together.
A recent Metacritic review states, “Golf Story is well worth the addition to every Switch owner’s library. Its zany cast, easy-to-grasp gameplay, and wonderful art design make for an incredibly rewarding experience.” – RPG Fan
The golfing aspect is uncomplicated, but still challenging, and it’s fun to be able to use golfing in unique ways to solve various RPG quests and challenges. The story is just engaging enough to keep you interested and all of the familiar aspects of classic RPGs are present. Talk to everyone, think outside of the box, explore every single corner (sometimes this requires using your golfing skills to find hidden areas), and embrace this game’s unconventional take on both golf games and RPGs.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It’s nearly impossible to have a list of Nintendo Switch games without including Breath of the Wild. It absolutely lives up to all of the hype and rave reviews. But, does a huge, expansive, open world game lend itself to a portable gaming device? The answer is a resounding, “Yes”.
Breath of the Wild is just as gorgeous and immersive as you can imagine and it’s going to be a very long time before you get tired of playing this game. With DLC packs arriving and new amiibos with special features, it just keeps getting better. Honestly, if this was the only game you ever played on the Nintendo Switch, it would be completely worth it.
(Unamed) Pokémon Game
Details are few and far between and we have to wait for a long time before we actually get to play it, but at this point, a Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch is an inevitability. Gamefreak has confirmed that it is in development, but when it’s released and the details of gameplay remain to be seen.
There are plenty of theories and rumors, like that this new game will be open world, rather than follow the traditional Pokémon gameplay and that it will include a new generation of Pokémon, but we can’t be sure of any of it. What we do know is that for the first time, we will be playing on a big screen, but we’ll still have portability. The Switch is the perfect opportunity to move one of the most prolific mobile gaming series to a home console.
As more games are released, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Nintendo Switch is here to stay. It manages to be successful as both a home and a mobile console, and the addition of indie games to the usual Nintendo flagship lineup has made it a power player. Nintendo continues to surprise and innovate and the switch is the perfect system for flexible gaming.